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Bitlather Chronicles #1

Dream Eater's Carnival

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Desperate for adventure, the headstrong Leisl abandons her sterile cathedral life for a mysterious traveling carnival. Surrounded by vibrant energy and eccentric performers, she finds a sense of belonging.

Although she embraces her new life, Leisl is unable to shake a strange sense of unease. There is more to the reclusive carnival owner than meets the eye. Soon she learns that his fantastic performances are not all illusion. There is dark, terrible magic at work.

If Leisl isn’t careful, falling from the tightrope may be the least of her problems.

83 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 21, 2015

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About the author

Leslie Anderson

28 books48 followers
Leslie and Dave are Pittsburgh, PA authors and caretakers to three unpredicatble, and often demanding, mutts.

Inspired by the worlds and stories of David Eddings, Baldur's Gate, and Final Fantasy VI, they always strive to imbue their fantastical stories with a dose of humor and plenty of intrigue.

On the rare instance they aren't writing, they forge ahead on any of their other numerous obsessions, such as gardening, programming, and putting together Legos while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Elise Edmonds.
Author 3 books81 followers
March 6, 2017
A great introduction to this interesting and unique world. Meet Leisl as she goes through life-changing events, by running away with the carnival and learning the life of a show performer, before becoming embroiled in the seedier side of things.

My only criticism would be that it went by too quickly. It felt like Leisl did her first performance, then disaster struck and the next change in her life was upon her before the reader had adjusted. I would have preferred more of a build-up to the discovery she makes at the carnival.

It's a great teaser as an introductory book in the series and I'm already eager for the next one.
Profile Image for K.F. Germaine.
Author 3 books295 followers
August 9, 2016
"Quite fantastical" accurately sums up my thoughts on the Dream Eater's Carnival.

The story begins with teenage Leisl, who up until the enigmatic Dreamer's Carnival arrives, lives a simple life tucked away from the bustling world around her. Mesmerized by the festivities, she abandons the only home she's known, lured by the energy and mystique of the traveling carnival troupe. Through Leisl's eyes, I experienced every sight, smell, and sleight of hand offered by her odd yet endearing newly found family and surroundings. But, there is a dark side to this life of performing, and soon Leisl finds that her role in the Dreamer’s Carnival is far more complicated than simply walking the tightrope.

The amount of thoughtful detail and description put into this story is exceptional. Every scene teases the senses, and placed me among the nomadic carnies and alongside Leisl as I read. The characters are well developed. They are the perfect blend of hard and soft, showing the reader they're just crusty swindlers with big hearts. Even the darker characters, lurking in the shadows, you can’t help but enjoy, because you just need to learn more about them.

This is the first installment in the Bitlather Chronicles, and based on this beginning, I know the subsequent books will not disappoint. If you’re like me, and haven’t ventured into Steampunk literature before, I would encourage you to step out of your comfort genre and take the leap, because missing out on this vibrant and well-crafted novella would be a shame.
Profile Image for H.L. Burke.
Author 78 books516 followers
September 14, 2015
My Review

I really enjoyed the characters and the aesthetic of this world. It was a lot of fun with constant surprises. I wasn't crazy about how abruptly it ended, but since it flat out says it is a "prequel" in the description, it is obviously meant to make me want to buy the rest of the series ... and it did, but the series isn't out yet. Tsk.
The piece is wonderfully atmospheric with a great mix of realistic grit and dreamlike haze. There were a few moments where I chuckled out loud and a few more where I felt actively anxious ... I still want to know what happened next, but at least it wasn't a huge cliffhanger (no one is about to die or hanging off of a literal cliff). It probably would've been less of a let down, but my Kindle Ap said I was only at 72% when it ended (due to backmatter) so I had hoped for at least two or three more chapters. Definitely leaves you wanting more.
Parental concerns: mostly YA safe. Like one or two cuss words and some innuendo. Definitely nothing past PG 13.
January 1, 2016
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This review originally appeared on my blog DaniReviewsThings.com.

This is the first steampunk world I’ve entered, so I’m not sure if I was able to truly appreciate everything. The world is maybe ours in the 19th century, mixed with steampunk and fantasy elements. The steampunk adds an almost eerie, dreamy atmosphere to everything, while the fantasy brings in magic, powered by amber. People can use different kinds of amber to fuel different kinds of magic, the main character being one of these people.

Leisl is a 17-year-old who has spent her life in a cathedral, working away and never being allowed out. A travelling carnival comes to town, and Leisl decides–that night–to join the carnival. However, I thought her decision too sudden and unexplained. I don’t really feel like the reasons behind her split-second decision to drop everything and leave the only place she knew were explored enough. After the rushed start, the rest of the novella slowed down considerably, and while it had an interesting atmosphere, I didn’t really sense any particular direction. Yeah, things were hinted at, but not much really happened. It was only at the end that things took off, setting the stage for subsequent books. Really, this book was an extended prologue and didn’t have much of a story of its own.

The characters were interesting once I got my head around who was who. Each has an unusual name, and I initially struggled to keep straight who was who and who did what acts. I think the creepiest character of all was the monkey. I picture it as a baboon, and baboons are vicious things (having seen them invade homes in South Africa before). My favourite character was perhaps Ursula, the very homely and sage bearded lady. There were a handful of other characters, but I can only remember one or two of their names now! I didn’t connect with any of them, which was a shame.

Funnily enough, there was a taster of the next book at the end of this novella, and I got really into that! It hasn’t quite been shown how the next book links to this, as it centres around an entirely different girl named Raquel. However, I found her easier to relate to than the impulsive Leisl. As such, while this book was interesting, if I hadn’t read the teaser for the next, I don’t think I’d be interested in reading any of the future books. As it is, I want to know what happens next to Raquel!
Profile Image for Maren.
600 reviews35 followers
July 5, 2015
I received a copy of this novella from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

If you're looking for a quick yet exciting read that is the opening piece to a new series you should definitely check this one out. Liesl is a special girl who has grown up living in a cathedral but it's not the kind of cathedral that we know in this world. She wants something more and runs away to join the carnival. While there she makes a shocking discovery. The authors have created a world that is exciting filled with many interesting characters. There is a bit of comedy and a lot of adventure. I don't normally care much for novellas but this one seemed to be the perfect length to get me hooked on this series. I can't wait to read what comes next for Liesl.
Profile Image for Jeffery Russell.
Author 5 books158 followers
August 14, 2015
A witty and suspenseful ride into a creepy steampunk carnival with a naive heroine who has some secrets of her own. Dream Eater's Carnival is the opening of Leslie Anderson's Bitlather Chronicles and gives us a rolling start into a world of brass and magic. Everything you want in a steampunk carnival-eccentric carnies, rolling wagons, sinister magicians and a touch of the supernatural. Well worth the read and I'm looking forward to more of Leisl's adventures.
Profile Image for Alison.
1,302 reviews12 followers
October 17, 2015
This story serves as a sort of prequel to a full-length novel coming out... soon?... from the same authors, so it ends up a bit packed full of tidbits that don't make a lot of sense because I presume they'll be explained later, but the atmosphere of the book is so fantastic that I will probably check out that novel whenever it arrives.
Profile Image for Kyla Sixkiller.
116 reviews7 followers
July 1, 2016
It was a really good book, I loved it and followed it through out it's process of being made. It was far more than I could have ever imagined and I still have dreams where I see the lovely scenery from th story!
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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